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The Envelope Please: Match Day 2016 for the University of Maryland School of Medicine

March 18, 2016

Envelope holds the key to a new doctors' future immediately after graduation

It was a day filled with emotion at Baltimore’s famed Hippodrome Theater.  On March 18, the Class of 2016 of the University of Maryland School of Medicine received its matches, an event known as Match Day. 

At exactly noon, medical students here and around the country receive an envelope telling them where they will do their residency training. This year, 155 UM SOM students matched at 73 different hospitals in 26 states. 

The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) conducts the Match nationwide, using a computer algorithm that aligns the preferences of applicants with the preferences of residency programs in order to fill thousands of training positions available at U.S. teaching hospitals.

Many other students had unusual stories too. Jessie Werner, a former sixth grade teacher, decided to go back to med school after realizing that she wanted to follow in her parents’ footsteps – both are doctors. She matched to Brown University.

Manoj Racherla did a “couples match” with his wife, who goes to Drexel Medical School in Philadelphia. They were ecstatic to be assigned to the University of Maryland. She found out 90 minutes before him and proceeded to text him constantly as he waited. She couldn’t tell him where she got matched, because he didn’t want to know ahead of time. As soon as he found out, he Facetimed her to share the news.

Another student, Elaine Bigelow, was a star rugby player while at Princeton. After graduating, she moved to Baltimore to do research, and continued to play on a local women’s team. Once she entered med school, she still played, finding time for three practices a week and games on weekends. In her third year, she had to take a temporary break because her studies were so demanding. She matched to Johns Hopkins in Ear, Nose and Throat, and plans to continue playing for her team.

Tim Costales worked very hard in medical school, but he has also found time to help write and produce a series of hilarious and widely-seen YouTube music videos parodying pop songs, with med school themes and lyrics. He matched to the University of Maryland, and was excited because it meant he “could stay with all of his friends.”

Every student selected their own soundtrack for their walk to the stage. Many students danced their way up, to applause.  Fifty-six members of the Class of 2016 will stay in the state of Maryland for their residency training; last year, the number was 35.

Nationwide, more than 41,000 U.S. and international students applied for one of the approximately 30,000 first-year residency positions offered in this year’s Main Residency Match, according to the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP). Even though more students than ever are enrolling in medical schools, the United States is still facing a significant physician shortage, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

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